Blog>Business Management

User Permissions in Asana Projects

Evgeniya Ioffe - June 30th 2024 - 4 minutes read

Navigating user permissions in Asana can feel like threading a needle through the complexities of modern project management. Asana offers a variety of permission levels to keep your projects organized and secure, but these benefits do not come without their challenges. In this article, we dive deep into the nuances of Asana's permission structures, explore the roadblocks teams often encounter, and offer practical workarounds and innovative solutions to streamline your workflow. Get ready to unlock the full potential of your Asana projects with our expert insights and actionable strategies.

User Permissions in Asana: Definitions and Roles

User permissions in Asana are multifaceted, providing different levels of access tailored to the needs of various project roles. Full access users can view, edit, and manage all tasks within a project, ensuring comprehensive control over project details. This level is typically assigned to project managers or team leads who need to oversee and coordinate every aspect of the project workflow.

Comment-only access is a crucial permission type for stakeholders who need to stay informed but should not make any changes. Users with comment-only access can view all tasks and leave comments, providing feedback without the risk of inadvertently altering task information or status. This is ideal for clients or upper management team members who should be kept in the loop but not involved in the day-to-day management.

Limited access, on the other hand, restricts users to specific tasks or subtasks they are directly involved in. These users can access and update designated tasks and subtasks without seeing other unrelated parts of the project. This ensures focused participation without exposing the entire project to individuals who need only a narrow view, enhancing privacy and reducing the risk of unnecessary distractions.

Challenges within Asana's Permission Structures

One significant challenge within Asana's permission structures emerges from the comment-only user restrictions. While comment-only access maintains streamlined collaboration by allowing feedback without enabling task modifications, it stifles more dynamic contributions. A lack of permission to create subtasks or automate processes from comment-only users underscores this issue. Take, for instance, a project where team members need to break down tasks further based on evolving project needs. If these users are limited to commenting, the onus falls back on those with edit permissions, causing delays and bottlenecks.

Another notable limitation involves the inability to customize permissions finely within large teams. Faced with uniform permission settings across numerous projects, team leaders often struggle to balance comprehensive accessibility with limiting disruptions. Consider the scenario where a team lead needs members to comment and add tasks while keeping notifications under control. Without the capacity to tailor these permissions adequately, the team could be inundated with unnecessary updates, detracting from productivity and focus.

Moreover, managing permissions for external collaborators poses distinct hurdles. Reflect on the case of client involvement in an Asana project, where granular control over permissions would optimize interactions. Unfortunately, the current system's rigidity forces organizations into a dichotomy of granting either excessive control or sharp limitations, neither of which aligns effectively with nuanced client roles. This inflexibility can lead to duplicated work and missed tasks, obstructing seamless project workflow integration.

Immediate Workarounds for Permissions Challenges in Asana

If you encounter limitations in the current Asana permissions setup, one immediate workaround is leveraging the "Project duplication" feature. By creating copies of projects, you can adjust visibility and task assignments more flexibly. For instance, team leads can duplicate sensitive project segments, making certain tasks available only to specific team members or stakeholders, thus maintaining essential privacy and focus without disturbing the main project's structure.

Another practical workaround involves using the "Task dependencies" feature strategically. By setting up tasks with clear dependencies, you can control the flow of information and task visibility. Only team members responsible for specific portions will be notified and involved at each stage. This ensures that contributors have access to the exact tasks they need to focus on, reducing the noise and potential for unintended modifications.

Lastly, take advantage of Asana’s "Comment-only projects" to streamline stakeholder engagement. This method allows stakeholders to stay informed and provide feedback without the risk of them altering critical project details. It's especially useful for involving clients or executives who need to review progress and give input while ensuring that the core team maintains control over the project's implementation.

Proposed Solutions for Enhanced Permissions Management

Introducing an intermediary access level between comment-only and edit permissions could bridge the gap for collaborators who need more than read-only access but less than full editing rights. This solution would empower users to contribute more effectively by enabling them to add subtasks or update task statuses without risking edits to essential project elements. Reducing bottlenecks and fostering smoother collaboration, this access level would strike an ideal balance between control and flexibility.

Customizable permissions provide another significant enhancement. Organizations often have unique requirements, and a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't always meet their needs. Allowing admins to tailor permissions for different roles and users would lead to finer control over who can see and do what within projects. For instance, enabling permissions such as "view only specific tasks," "comment on assigned tasks," or "create but not delete tasks" would offer a highly adaptable framework to suit diverse team dynamics.

Enhanced control by super-admins ensures that organizational administrators have ultimate oversight. Super-admins could grant or revoke specific permissions across entire teams or for individual users, ensuring that access aligns perfectly with organizational policies. This approach limits unauthorized changes and enforces consistency across projects. The added ability for super-admins to quickly modify permissions during staffing changes or reorganizations could significantly streamline administrative processes, ensuring seamless transitions and ongoing project security.


This article explores the complexities of user permissions in Asana projects and offers practical solutions to overcome challenges. It discusses the different permission levels in Asana, such as full access, comment-only access, and limited access, and identifies the limitations and hurdles within Asana's permission structures. The article proposes immediate workarounds, including project duplication, task dependencies, and comment-only projects, to address these challenges. It also suggests solutions for enhanced permissions management, such as introducing an intermediary access level and customizable permissions. Overall, the article highlights the importance of finding the right balance between control and flexibility in managing user permissions in Asana projects.